Born to coach is an apt description of Perks, a retired math teacher at John Jay H.S. in Hopewell Junction. For 17 years, he led the school’s cross-country and track teams. But it’s what he’s done since his retirement that really impresses us. For the past five years, Perks has held weekly track sessions for members of the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club. This year, approximately 70 local runners — of all ages and abilities — took advantage of Perks’ training program, which includes a variety of workouts (personalized according to each runner’s ability level) as well as plenty of sage advice on foot turnover, active isolated stretching, plyometric drills, and other secrets of elite athletes. And for all this time spent and attention paid, he received no payment whatsoever — other than the gratitude of a host of weekend pavement-pounders around the county. An avid runner himself, Perks twice won the Dutchess County Classic Marathon in the 1980s; now in his early 60s, he regularly bests runners less than half his age in local road races.